To become a real estate agent, you'll be required to complete some form of educational training that is approved by the state division responsible for governing real estate. You must also pass an exam demonstrating that you absorbed the knowledge in the program. The precise requirements will vary depending on the state and range from 40 hours of coursework to 200 – which can be completed online or in a classroom. After passing the exam, you must also work under a broker while gaining field experience.
Real estate school will teach you all the basic concepts you need to know in your practices as a real estate agent and your legal and fiduciary responsibilities. Some topics you will cover include the definition of real property, fair housing laws, ethics and practices for real estate agents, contracts, negotiations, and more. Although it will not cover everything you need to know as a real estate agent, it will give you the foundation to enter the industry with confidence.
- Which State You're Getting Licensed In
- How Much Time You Have to Commit
- Whether You're Taking the Course Online or In-Person
- How Quickly You Pick Up the Information
- The State's Exam and Application Process
1. Which State You're Getting Licensed In
The length of the educational course required by the state will vary depending on where you're looking to get licensed. For instance, Alaska only requires 40 hours of pre-licensing education, while Texas requires 180 hours. Plus, the complexity of the coursework may also vary from state to state, which will impact how long the course takes to complete.
2. How Much Time You Have to Commit
Many real estate pre-licensing courses are self-paced, so you can work through them at a pace that fits your schedule. If you can commit yourself to the course full-time, you may be able to knock it out in a week or two. But, if you're working another job, in school, or have children, you may have to progress through it more gradually. So, it all depends on your current schedule and how much time you can reasonably commit.
3. Whether You're Taking the Course Online or In-Person
Another key factor affecting how long it will take to complete real estate school is whether you choose to take it virtually or in a classroom. Many people like the online option because it's flexible and can easily fit into your existing schedule. However, others have trouble absorbing the information from home and prefer learning in a more traditional classroom setting. Online courses allow you to complete the coursework faster if you have the time, whereas classroom instruction will typically take place over a set amount of time. But it all depends on which method offers the best environment for you to learn.
4. How Quickly You Pick Up the Information
The point of pre-licensing education is to prepare you to pass the exam. So it's best to take it slowly and take notes so you absorb the information, rather than rushing through it as quickly as possible, then failing the course. Some people naturally learn faster than others, so you should progress through the coursework at the best pace for you. You'd rather take an extra month to make sure you truly understand the information than fail the test and have to start over, so if you work consistently, it may save you time in the long run.
5. The State's Exam and Application Process
Each state has a different exam and application process as well. Depending on where you live, the state may only offer the test at a certain time, or you may need to travel to a nearby city to find a valid testing location. Even once you take the exam, it may take a few weeks to find out if you passed and if your application was approved. So, you should expect to wait another 2 to 4 weeks after taking and passing your exam to get approval and obtain your license.
Plan on spending at least two to six months completing the pre-licensing educational requirements to obtain a real estate license. Although the exact amount of time it takes will depend on your goals and the state you live in, you should budget a few months to make sure you take in all the necessary information and complete the exam with confidence.